Senators on West PH Sea collision: ‘A huge insult’ to Filipinos

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 13, 2019   •   3020

Several senators have condemned the reported collision of a Chinese vessel and a Filipino vessel on Sunday (June 9), deeming it ‘a huge insult’ to Filipinos.

Sen. Joel Villanueva called the actions of the Chinese crew as irresponsible after they left the 22 Filipino crewmen in the West Philippine Sea.

“We strongly condemn the irresponsible actions of the Chinese vessel’s crew. Saving the lives of fellow seafarers should be top priority regardless of nationality or flag. The incident shows the need for greater accountability and enforcement of international laws in the West Philippine Sea,” he said in his statement.

READ: Locsin files diplomatic protest vs China after West PH Sea collision

Senators Franklin Drilon shares the same sentiment with Senator Panfilo Lacson. They are both questioning the friendly relationship between China and the Philippines.

Senator Lacson calls for a talk between the country’s leaders.

“This incident calls for a leader-to-leader talk. As I said, nothing short of serious punitive action by the Chinese government against those responsible can convince us of a real friendly relationship between our peoples,” he said.

According to Director, Institute for Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea- University of the Philippines Prof. Jay Batongbacal this is not the first time a Chinese vessel hit another country’s fishing vessel.

“Marami itong beses na nangyari sa Vietnam binabangga ng mga Chinese vessel iyong mga Vietnamese fishing vessel, (It had occurred numerous times in Vietnam where a Chinese vessel hit a Vietnamese fishing vessel)” he said.

Batongbacal also seeks accountability for what happened. He said that the Filipino crewmen should be given compensation.

“Kung hindi tayo aalma, kung palalampasin natin ito baka ang susunod na diyan lahat ng ating mga mangingisda diyan sa West Philippine sea ay gaganyanin din, babanggain, iha-harass hanggang sa umalis na tayo sa West Philippine Sea, (If we will not protest, they might also target other fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. They might harass us until we leave the West Philippine Sea)” Batongbacal added.(with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

Vietnam to evacuate 80,000 people from Danang after virus outbreak

UNTV News   •   July 28, 2020

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from the central tourism hot spot of Danang on Monday (July 27) after three residents tested positive for the coronavirus on the weekend, the government said.

The Southeast Asian country is back on high alert after the government on Saturday (July 25) confirmed its first community infections since April, and another three cases on Sunday (July 26), all in and around Danang.

The evacuation will take at least four days with domestic airlines operating approximately 100 flights daily from Danang to 11 Vietnamese cities, the government said in a statement.

Vietnam has imposed strict quarantine measures and carried out an aggressive and widespread testing programme during the pandemic, keeping its total tally of reported infections to just 420, with no deaths. =

Vietnam is still closed to foreign tourism, but saw a surge in domestic travellers looking to take advantage of discounted flights and holiday packages for local hotels and resorts. Those arriving from Danang to other parts of the country would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days, the health ministry said. Following the discovery of the new cases, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered police to step up a crackdown on illegal immigration to the country.

State media on Sunday said police in Danang had arrested a 42-year-old Chinese man it said was the head of a criminal group which helps people illegally enter Vietnam from China.

Authorities have not officially linked the new cases in Danang to illegal immigration. The government said in a separate statement on Monday that authorities in Ha Giang province, which borders China, had caught more than 1,500 people illegally crossing into the province since May. Most of those caught were Vietnamese citizens, the statement said, and were quarantined. (Reuters)

(Production: Minh Nguyen)

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

PH Embassy in South Korea assists Filipinos with special flights to Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   June 10, 2020

SOUTH KOREA — The Philippine Embassy in Seoul assisted a total of 148 passengers who boarded the special Korean Air flight KE 623 to Manila, Sunday afternoon (June 7).

All 148 Filipinos were stranded in South Korea due to intermittent schedules and frequent cancellations of international flights to Manila brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The special flight was arranged by the Philippine Embassy in Seoul and was made possible through the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authorities (MIAA), and the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, in cooperation with Korean Air.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Embassy has assisted 270 stranded Filipinos in Korea, both residents and transiting passengers at Incheon International Airport,” said Charge d’affaires Christian de Jesus.

“The special flight was initiated by the Embassy following our survey of Filipinos in Korea who were looking for a special passenger flight. Many have already finished their employment contracts but could not go home because their flight bookings have been cancelled for as many as three to six times,” he added.

CDA de Jesus assures that the Embassy will continue to respond to the needs of Filipinos in Korea whose lives and employment are affected by the pandemic.

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